Skip to main content

Dalit women activists equate India's untouchability with apartheid during campaign in nine US cities

By Our Representative
In a strong effort to internationalize the view that the treatment meted out to Dalits in India should be treated on par with the apartheid, a delegation of the All-India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM) has wrapped up its tour of nine American cities in order to highlight centuries old "oppression" suffered by India's “untouchables” within the Hindu caste system.
Consisting of well-known Dalit activists Anjum Singh, Sanghapali Aruna Lohitakshi and Asha Kowtal, the delegation went around the US under the banner of #DalitWomenFight, highlighting how over 260 million people in India today, with more in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, have been victims of the type of treatment that Blacks in the US have had to suffer.
AIDMAM representatives, during their visit, reportedly shared stories of how Dalit people have traditionally held occupations considered “ritually impure” — which include "manual labour like removal of waste, leatherwork, butchering, and even musicians whose instrument involves an animal’s flesh (like a drum)".
The delegation said the "atrocities" committed against Dalit people are staggering even today, as on average a crime against a Dalit person happens every 18 minutes, and three Dalit women are raped every day. Thirteen are murdered every week. A majority of these crimes are committed with impunity.
“We realize this is a battle that we cannot win by ourselves,” said Asha Kowtal, general secretary, AIDMAM, explaining the reason for the tour. “The movement needs global solidarity from oppressed communities across the world and allies who will stand with us in this struggle to overhaul institutions reeking of caste and patriarchy.”
Taking note of the delegation, blogger Gabriel Teodros wrote in http://www.seattleglobalist.com how a conversation with the Seattle South Asian Solidarity Alliance and #DalitWomenFight shockingly highlighted certain "firsthand accounts" of the atrocities that have been going on in India, including a story about a woman who was murdered and tortured with cigarette burns all over her body.
"Her death was ruled a suicide — an eerie similarity to what happened to Sandra Bland in Texas", commented the blogger.
Manisha Mashaal, field organizer with AIDMAM, pointed how she was "enraged" by the case a young woman who was gang raped and murdered in Haryana on her way to school.
"This story sent shivers down my spine... There was so much silence around the case of a young Dalit student being brutally murdered in her own community", Mashaal said, adding, "We organized family and community members to the local police station for the results of the autopsy reports. We were treated with so much disrespect at the police station, where officers kicked the dead body of the victim."
New York based filmmaker, musician and transmedia artist Thenmozhi Soundararajan showed parts of her documentary she is working on after her two years of her journeys with grassroots leaders.
“I think in places like Seattle, we’re dealing with ‘Caste 2.0’ where we’re seeing a preponderance of highly educated upper-caste Indians joining these massive tech companies, and it’s like the worst of all worlds because they are financially wealthy, incredibly arrogant and they try to recreate casteist structures within their companies and inside the South Asian institutions of Seattle", she said.

Comments

TRENDING

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Russia, China to call the shots in Middle East, as Muslim nations turn into house of cards

By Haider Abbas* Only a naive would buy that the ‘situation of ceasefire’ between the State of Israel and Hamas would continue, as if the foiled attempt to demolish Al Aqsa this time, is not be repeated, if not in any near future then in sometime to come. Israel already has spurned the ‘ceasefire’ by storming Al Aqsa after the Friday prayers on May 21.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Modi-led regime 'contributed' 60% to rise of global poverty, yet Hindutva is intact

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* In recent years, the Hindutva politics has caused long term damage to India and Indians. The so called 56-inch macho PM, the propaganda master manufactures and survives all political crisis including the current mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic in India. In spite of deaths and destitutions, the social, cultural, economic and religious base of Hindutva is intact.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.